Sunday, January 8, 2012

Song #78 of 9999 - No Matter What by Badfinger

Song #78 of 9999

Title: No Matter What
Artist: Badfinger
Year: 1970
Album: No Dice

I thought I'd start 1970 with the birth of a genre that has meant a lot to me over the past ten years or so: power pop. Before there was Elvis Costello, before there was Cheap Trick, before there was Weezer, even before there was Big Star, there was Badfinger. And, although we can debate about exactly when power pop came into its own (it would be fair to start with The Kinks five years earlier), the sound people really associate with the style is encapsulated in this 1970 release by Badfinger.

Badfinger was one of the first bands to be signed to The Beatles' Apple Records. Paul McCartney even wrote and produced their first hit, "Come and Get It" (check out this demo of McCartney performing the song—it's really excellent.) Their sound so resembled The Beatles that rumors circulated that Badfinger was, in fact, The Beatles making an effort to record music in secret to avoid the immense pressure and scrutiny of the press and public.

I like "No Matter What" because of the hooks of course, but also for the use of a rhythm guitar tone that I think really epitomizes the power pop sound. The video shows Ham playing a Gibson SG, which is likely the guitar on the recording and maybe the guitar supposedly given to him by George Harrison. It's the same guitar Pete Townshend favored and shows up in the hands of other power pop guitarists from groups like The Raspberries and The Cars.

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